Six years after my diagnosis, I still go through various emotions related to diabetes. As a breathing, living person, I’d be very concerned if I didn’t feel anything. Since I live with a chronic medical condition that is so common yet no one really understands, and is so maligned in media and the public mind, it is all but natural for me to be angry, depressed, irritated, and even burned out. But the focal points of my emotions have changed over the years.
For starters, I’m no longer in denial. Accepting and owning diabetes was the first step in controlling it since I cannot deal with something the existence of which I deny. Anyway, denying diabetes does not make it go away but only makes things worse by delaying treatment.
I’m no longer angry at my medical fate. Now my anger is directed towards people who take advantage of the desperation, vulnerability and lack of knowledge of diabetics to sell false promises of a cure, ineffective “diabetic” supplements, and unnecessary “diabetic” goods and foods. I am angry with diabetics who bully and look down on fellow diabetics who do not follow their lifestyle. I am angry with medical suppliers for not producing reliable test strips and more affordable diabetic supplies. I am angry with pharmaceutical companies and governments for not trying harder to find a cure. I am angry with health care providers who do not give us the standard of care that we deserve. I am definitely angry with media for perpetuating myths and erroneous information about this condition.
I am no longer guilty about how I used to live.
I still worry about complications. But I face that worry by taking control and by not letting that worry turn into fear that dictates my life and my every move.
I have to admit that I still get depressed from time to time. I deal with my short bouts of depression by running, keeping busy, transferring my dark thoughts into writing and clumsy attempts at art, and talking to my husband. It is said that diabetics, like other people with chronic conditions, are more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Depression can adversely affect your health. So, don’t let it go unchallenged. If you suffer from depression, especially for long periods of time, please do not hesitate to seek help from family, friends and professionals.
But after living with Type 2 diabetes for six years, I now have more positive emotions in my arsenal:
- Hopeful that my future will not be marred by complications
- Grateful for a wonderful life, family , friends and husband, challenging work, caring doctors, and good health (the list of things I’m grateful for is incredibly long)
- Proud for achieving all the things I’ve achieved, before and after diagnosis
- Joyful for waking up every morning to a new day
- Inspired to seek new things and give back to the community (especially the DOC)
- Strong and empowered that I am able to deal with the various challenges of diabetes every day, even if I am not always successful
- Forgiving and accepting of myself, and my strengths and shortcomings
- Confident that I will be on top of diabetes, rather than the other way around
- Excited about the life ahead of me
Often when we talk about emotions, we tend to focus on the negative. But life is neither all negative nor all positive. It is a blend of both and everything else in between. A monochromatic life (even if it’s painted diabetic blue) could be boring, don’t you think?